Chinese Medicine Board of Australia - 2018 19 annual summary
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2018 19 annual summary

Chinese medicine in 2018/19

Snapshot of the profession

  • 4,892 Chinese medicine practitioners
  • Up 0.2% from 2017/18
  • 0.7% of all registered health practitioners
  • 0.4% identified as Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander
  • 56.4% female; 43.6% male


Total number of registered practitioners 4,892 %
Registered in one division 1,796 36.7%
Registered in two divisions 2,119 43.3%
Registered in three divisions 977 20.0%
Registered as an acupuncturist 4,786 97.8%
Registered as Chinese herbal medicine practitioner 3,143 64.2%
Registered as a Chinese herbal dispenser 1,036 21.2%


Under 25 years old: 0.5%, 25-34 years old: 10.6%, 35-44 years old: 24.9%, 45-54 years old: 26.1%, 55-64 years old: 25.7%, 65-74 years old: 10.5%, Over 75 years old: 1.7%

Audit outcomes

Audit outcomes pie chart
  • 89.1% compliant: fully compliant with the registration standards
  • 5.0% non-compliant: non-compliant with one or more standards
  • 5.9% no audit action required: during the audit period, practitioners changed their registration type to non-practising, elected to surrender their registration or failed to renew their registration

Regulating the profession

  • 37 notifications lodged with AHPRA1
  • Australia-wide, including Health Professional Councils Authority (HPCA) in NSW and Office of the Health Ombudsman (OHO) in Queensland data, 85 registered Chinese medicine practitioners– or 1.7% – had notifications made about them.
  • 43 notifications closed
    • 11.6% had conditions imposed on registration or an undertaking accepted
    • 11.6% received a caution or reprimand
    • 2.3% referred to another body or retained by a health complaints entity (HCE) 
    • 74.4% no further action taken
  • Immediate action taken twice
  • 4 mandatory notifications received
    • all about professional standards
  • 18 Chinese medicine practitioners monitored for health, performance and/or conduct during the year
  • 860 cases were being monitored at 30 June
    • 6 on the grounds of conduct
    • 1 for health reasons
    • 5 for performance
    • 3 prohibited practitioner/student
    • 845 for suitability/eligibility for registration (includes competency in speaking and communicating in English)
  • 27 criminal offence complaints were made and 31 closed
    • 17 new matters related to title protection
    • 9 to advertising breaches
    • 1 to other offence
  • Matters decided by a tribunal: 0
  • Matters decided by a panel: 0
  • Decisions appealed: 0

1Unless stated otherwise, all notification data is AHPRA data.

Sources of notifications: 45.9% Patient, relative or member of the public, 8.9% Board’s own motion, 10.8% Other practitioner, 10.8% HCE, 5.4% Self, 8.1% Other

Most common types of complaint: 35.1% Clinical care, 21.6% Breach of non-offence provision – National Law, 10.8% Infection/hygiene, 8.1% Criminal offence – National Law, 5.4% Billing, 18.9% Other

Complaint types: ‘Other ‘comprises one complaint in each of seven categories: boundary violation, medication, communication, teamwork/supervision, informed consent, and monitoring and compliance action.

A report on the year from the Chair

Policy and research updates

The Chinese Medicine Board of Australia updated its position statement on translating publications and completed the annual revision of the Nomenclature compendium of commonly used Chinese herbal medicines.

In October, the Board published Contributing to risk-based Chinese medicine regulation in Australia. This report was carried out to review national and international data to identify possible risks arising from the use of Chinese medicine, and to review them for practice in Australia. The report finds that Chinese medicine practice is generally safe in the Australian regulatory environment, while also identifying areas to consider for further responses.


The Chinese Medicine Accreditation Committee consulted on draft revised accreditation standards.

The Board called for applications for appointment to this committee and reappointed Dr Meeuwis Boelen, external to the profession; Dr Wei Hong (Angela) Yang, practitioner member; Associate Professor Christopher Zaslawski, practitioner member; and Mr David Schievenin, practitioner member, and appointed Ms Suzi Shu Yi Mansu, practitioner member, for three-year terms. The Board expressed gratitude for the valued contribution of outgoing member Dr Jian Sheng (Jerry) Zhang.

Stakeholder engagement

Reference Group

The Chinese Medicine Reference Group’s purpose is to enhance a common understanding of the National Scheme from the differing perspectives of stakeholders. The third meeting took place in Melbourne in August and a communiqué was published. The Board called for applications for the second term, also adding a position for a new graduate. Ms Dina Tsiopelas and Dr Kevin Ryan were reappointed. Dr Shengxi (George) Zhang PhD, Ms Honglin (Linda) Yang and Ms Laura Sutton (new graduate) were newly appointed. The Board sincerely thanked outgoing members, Dr Carolyn Ee and Ms Geraldine Robinson.


The Board held a forum in Hobart in February. The Board and AHPRA continue to work with the profession on advertising. A bilingual presentation was held in Canberra in August. An analysis of the feedback from practitioner forums gave useful insight into the issues concerning the profession.

Meeting with national associations

In May, the Board met with representatives from the six national professional associations:

  • Australian Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine Association (AACMA) 
  • Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Society of Australia Ltd (CMASA)
  • Chinese Medicine Industry Council (CMIC)
  • Federation of Chinese Medicine and Acupuncture Societies of Australia (FCMA)
  • Australian Natural Therapists Association (ANTA), and
  • Australian Traditional Medicine Society (ATMS).

This enabled information-sharing and lively discussion about issues that affect Chinese medicine practitioners.

Important topics included an update on the Board’s work, and the associations explored the prospect of endorsement to use certain scheduled herbs. We also discussed a pneumothorax education package developed by the Chinese Medicine Council of NSW that will soon be available to practitioners. All parties agreed the meeting was a success and will occur annually. A joint communiqué was published.

Other news

The Board welcomed Ms Bing Tian as a practitioner member for her first term. Current Board members were reappointed.

The Board announced the frozen registration fee of $579.

Eight members attended a Council on Licensure, Enforcement and Regulation (CLEAR) regional symposium in Wellington, New Zealand, in November. The symposium examined approaches and mechanisms used by occupational regulators to show they are protecting the public interest.

The Deputy Chair and Executive Officer visited the Chinese Medicine Council of NSW in April. In the spirit of partnership, they discussed the need for relevant information exchange.

Distinguished Professor Charlie C. Xue, Chair

Page reviewed 12/11/2020